Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


33rd Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2007

Event Details

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Symposium #269
CE Offered: BACB
Applied Research on Schedules of Reinforcement
Sunday, May 27, 2007
4:00 PM–5:20 PM
Annie AB
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Brian A. Iwata (University of Florida)
CE Instructor: Brian A. Iwata, None

Research presented in this symposium illustrates a range of applications in which varied reinforcement schedules (progressive ratio, concurrent, conjugate, momentary DRO) played a prominent role in the context of either assessment or treatment.

Preference for Reinforcers under Progressive- and Fixed-Ratio Schedules in Single- and Concurrent-Operant Arrangements.
ASHLEY C. GLOVER (The Marcus Institute), Henry S. Roane (University of Nebraska Medical Center, Munroe-Meyer Institute), Heather Kadey (University of Nebraska Medical Center, Munroe-Meyer Institute)
Abstract: Progressive ratio (PR) schedules have been used to establish how much an individual will respond under increasing schedule requirements (i.e., the break point) for different reinforcers and have been conducted in both single and concurrent arrangements. Although both methods allow for the establishment of a break point, it is unknown how these break points predict responding under single and concurrent fixed-ratio (FR) schedules. We used PR schedules to identify the break point for two reinforcers (e.g., attention and TV) under single- and concurrent-operant conditions, using educational tasks as the target response. Sunsequently, we presented the same reinforcers concurrently at fixed-ratio schedules that were yoked to the respective break points obtained under PR schedules (i.e., conc FR 16 FR 3). Results suggested that in both assessments the participant responded more for one reinforcer regardless of whether it was presented on a single or concurrent PR schedule. Furthermore, this pattern of responding maintained when the reinforcers were presented in concurrent FR schedules. These results suggest that PR schedules are effective for identifying differential reinforcer value when developing educational training programs for individuals with developmental disabilities.
Reinforcing Effects of Preference-Assessment vs. Token-Store Selections under Single and Concurrent Reinforcement Schedules.
JORGE RAFAEL REYES (University of Florida), Kimberly Sloman (University of Florida), Timothy R. Vollmer (University of Florida)
Abstract: We evaluated the reinforcing efficacy of items identified as preferred through a preference assessment to the reinforcing efficacy of items that were selected at a token store. The items for each participant were selected by taking one item that was ranked low on the preference assessment but ranked high in the token store and another item that was ranked high on the preference assessment but ranked low in the token store. Both items were available concurrently and access to each item was made contingent on completing a word copying task. Results showed that under low, but equal schedule requirements (i.e., FR3/FR3), both items functioned equally well as reinforcers. Furthermore, when presented alone, each item was also highly effective in maintaining responding on the word copying task. These results suggest that items shown to be “low preference” can serve as reinforcers when presented either in a concurrent arrangement or when presented in isolation. Future manipulations will involve investigating the reinforcing efficacy of these items under progressive ratio schedules.
Effects of Fixed, Momentary DRO Schedules under Signaled and Unsignaled Arrangements.
JENNIFER LYNN HAMMOND (University of Florida), Brian A. Iwata (University of Florida), Carrie M. Dempsey (University of Florida), Jennifer N. Fritz (University of Florida)
Abstract: Results of previous research have shown that the fixed-momentary schedule of differential reinforcement of other behavior (FM-DRO) is generally ineffective as treatment for problem behavior. Because most early research on FM-DRO used signals to indicate the end of the DRO interval, it is unclear whether the reported ineffectiveness of FM-DRO is due to (a) discrimination of the contingency that was facilitated by the signals, or (b) the momentary response requirement of the schedule per se. To address this issue, we compared the effects of signaled vs. unsignaled FM-DRO with three individuals diagnosed with developmental disabilities whose problem behaviors were maintained by social-positive reinforcement (based on results of a functional analysis). During signaled DRO, the experimenter delivered a visual or auditory signal 3 s prior to the end of the DRO interval, and reinforcement was delivered contingent upon the absence of problem behavior at the end of the interval. Similar procedures were used during unsignaled DRO; however, interval termination was not signaled. Results indicated that unsignaled FM-DRO was effective in decreasing problem behavior, whereas signaled FM-DRO was not, suggesting that the response requirement per se of FM-DRO may not be problematic unless it is easily discriminated.
Evaluation of a Conjugate Reinforcement Schedule for Exercise Behavior in Individuals with Prader-Willi Syndrome.
CLAUDIA L. DOZIER (University of Florida), Brian A. Iwata (University of Florida), Jessica L. Thomason (University of Florida), Pamela L. Neidert (University of Florida)
Abstract: Physical exercise is an important therapeutic intervention in the management of life-threatening obesity, a prominent clinical feature of Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS). We compared the effects of access to preferred activities (music, television, attention) on exercise behavior, which were delivered via conjugate versus more traditional ratio schedules. Results indicated that the conjugate schedule was more effective in maintaining exercise for 3 of 4 participants and that all 4 participants showed preference for the conjugate schedule during a subsequent choice condition. Results are discussed with respect to the use of non-food interventions to increase exercise by individuals diagnosed with PWS and the potential use of conjugate schedules with other types of performance.



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